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>> this is "the chris matthews show." >> in america we celebrate success. >> i never said this journey would be easy. >> that future is our destiny. >> we are moving forward, america. >> rematch. barack obama's got tuesday night to re-take command. can he show himself the doer and make romney a would a, should a, could a challenger? joe biden might have stopped the romney train, but he certainly revved up the democrats. and did biden's arguments on medicare and abortion rights also do some damage to the other side? president clinton is out there selling the case of the guy he hopes will be another president clinton's predecessor. he gave that great deal-making speech at the d.n.c.
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now he's out there on the campaign trail doing what obama didn't do last week -- exposing mitt romney's hard right baggage. with us today, "new york" magazine's john hileman, christian science monitor, liz liz, and henderson henderson from "the washington post," and from "the daily beast," andrew sullivan. thursday night's debate was everything the romney and obama presidential debate had not been. >> you can still preserve the important tant things for middle class taxpayers. >> it's not mathematically possible. >> it's not mathematically possible. it's never been done before. >> it's been done a couple of times. >> it has never been done. >> oh, now you're jack kennedy. >> this tuesday night it's back to the main events. barack obama probably will tone it down a bit from biden's intensity. he's going to try to make romney
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look insincere. here's how bill clinton pulled it off with a gentle dismissal of bob dole in their town hall-style debate back in 1996. >> i think wisdom comes from age, experience and intelligence. and if you have some of each -- and i have some of each age, some experience, some intelligence. >> i can tell you that i don't think he's too old to be president. it's the age of his ideas that i question. >> that's letting him down easy, isn't it? the question, is his challenger is right there with him some terms of the polling. he has to be perhaps a little more forceful, how does he put it together? >> he's got to find that place. they've been struggling in terms of trying to find -- they made it through the crucial decision back in the spring, which was to paint romney not as a
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flip-flopper, but to paints him as a right-wing extremist. and that worked for them from the spring through the summer all the way through september. romney helped them. he gave them a lot of ammunition, said a lot of silly things and now he's done the etch-a-sketch moment in that debate. that's what happened there, apart from everything else. it's given obama a how do you continue to freeze him like a bug in amber with these right-wing spogs positions that are unpopular with swing voters, while he was ease running away from them. how do you call him both a liar and a flip-flopping phony and still p.i.p. him back? they're trying to make that is arguments simultaneously. a lot of what obama has to do is figure out the precise balance between those two things. >> tom joyner said on radio, you're very passionate in the criticism, and he said how do you keep saying over and over again my opponent is not telling the truth?
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that's his defense against the rather passionate critique of the first debate. >> he can tell us what he wants to do, that's what you do. i don't sit there batting defense when you have a non-moderator like lehrer, who says what are the differences, the first thing you say if you're president barack obama you say i'm for 100% of americans, he's for 40%. that's my answer. next? he was just not there. my problem with obama was he didn't show up for that debate. i think he knows it now. i think he's got it. and it's quite simple, actually, you say both. he was conservative when he needed to be. now he's going to be moderate when he needs to be, and who knows which president is going to show up in january. so do you trust this guy at this point after he said all this, and now all this? that's the question. and also, it seems to me very simply, your math doesn't add up. when you're giving a free ride and asking the middle class to pay all of it -- he should have said i'm not asking the middle class to pay all of it, i can do this through some magic trick.
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what is the trick? what are you hiding? what is the math? what deductions? here are mine, where are yours? >> the chris: we have voters out there who are going to be in this town hall. we don't know if there will be ringers there, but there will be sharp questioning. what really happened to benghazi? questions like jobs. we have so much unemployment still. these can be nasty questions. >> that's right. i think his challenge is -- on the one hand, he's got to connect with the people there and connect with the audience beyond that. there is a myth around a president obama, that he might be better in this setting because he is good with people. but he often isn't that good with people. he can be very aloof, very professor sore yal, but in terms of the timing, he has about two minutes to respond. he's got to prosecutor the case against romney but also talk about his own record.
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he's got to use the space well. if you look at the past debates, body language can be a real sort of determinative factor, when he seemed very disengaged, looking at his notes, not looking at the camera. chris: what are you supposed to do when the other guy is saying stuff you don't believe at all and it's bothering? the tv camera splits the screen. can you say i don't need the screen time? because you have to chuckle, the way biden says, or you have to look grim and put your head down. what are you supposed to do? >> you stare the guy down. you look him right in the eye and you watch him writhe. >> i know. >> i know you're lying, you know you're lying. >> i'm about to rip your -- >> when he went up to bush, that didn't work so well. [all talking at once] >> the hannity stuff about --
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look, there's a black guy running for office like two days before, and his repression of his own anger. he should be angry these people have the gall to talk to him about the deficit, the gall to talk to him about foreign policy. chris: one more time, before you get back to this, it seems to me biden did a couple of things on thursday night this week. one, he opened up this abortion debate. maybe it was a good question by martha raddatz. maybe it was too broad, but they narrowed it in a second. they both gave elm passioned arguments. but the one by ryan said if i get a shot i'm going to outlaw abortion, i'm going to ban it, and biden said now we live in a society where we're telling everybody else how to live by law. does he charge at romney, who's been dodge-balling this issue for weeks now? >> sure. abortion is one of those issues where it's harder to make us sort of tack to the center.
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you're on one side or you're on the other side. to some extent one of the things i noticed is that no social issues came up at all and it worked to romney's advantage, because he was able to make this rhetorical shift and moderate a lot of his -- chris: single women going to him in those days afterwards. >> but abortion is a much harder issue to do that on. >> but there is a center, a place, and bill clinton defined it -- safe, legal and rare. that was a winning formulation for president clinton for a long time. >> but legal. that's the dividing line. chris: aimed almost directly at liberal catholics. >> i'll say two things, first, biden, apart from stopping the democratic panic the other night and drawing contrasts, the other thing that he accomplished was on these issues. abortion, one, afghanistan another, medicare, taxes. that's what the obama campaign came out of saying that's where they thought he scored. they're -- they spent this
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weekend an they're going to spend every moment talking to people, figuring out which ones they can now exploit. chris: it's about policy differences. >> and trying to reach the groups. they're very precise about what sort of margins they need in certain groups, and how do they exploit that. that makes an overarching argument, but how do they move voters in the votes they need in the swing states? >> the issue that hasn't come up yet is immigration. we know how important latinos are in the swing states. chris: we asked the matthews meters -- could the obama team have played things smarter after the debacle in denver in that first debate? 11 say yes, they could have done it better. one person said something like, "heck, yeah." and some lodged their votes with multiple exclamation points. including you, john. [laughter] >> i was in all caps with a lot of exclamation points. chris: was it a general sort of
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hand-wringing? >> yes, both. it was funny and a lot of democrats laughed at it, but it doesn't speak to the lives of real people. one of the challenges is to go back to the format. it's hard to prosecutor a case against the other guy when you're also trying to answer people in the audience. obama is going to get asked, there's going to be one person in the audience, i guarantee it, who's going to be the disappointed obama voter, like he faced in the town hall on cnbc. someone is going to say, you know, i believed in you, i really had invested so much in you, and you've disappointed me so much. obama does not handle those kind of questions that well, and that -- >> with anger and passion. he's never said, look, are you kidding me? >> do you want a voter? is that what you want? >> i want to see some passion in the guy. i want to see the fact that he
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passed universal health care, which is more than any other president has done. i want to see him defend what he's done in defusing what was a growing religious global war. i do want him to defend his decimation of al qaeda. i want him to defend 5 million new jobs. i want him to talk about -- i'm mad about the fact that he -- [laughter] [all talking at once.] chris: bottom line. let me ask you about the romney-ryan ticket. did they establish themselves? did they pass the threshold of being presidential enough? >> yes. >> yes, i think association yes, definitely. >> i join the chorus. chris: this weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the cuban missile cry sifments president john f. kennedy and khrushchev faced each other over 13 days and much of that time they faced down the hawks on both sides, with spy plane photos showing
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the russians assem bling missiles in cuba capable of hitting new york, and the top advisors, including the chief of staff of the air force to authorize immediate air strikes before the missiles could be armed by the soviets. kennedy had to weigh the hawks' advice against the reality that no air strike could be 100% effective. and the possibilities that russian retaliation could target berlin and thereby trigger an all-out nuke yar war, as robert kennedy wrote, "the final list of the cuban missile crisis is the importance of placing ourselves in the other country's shoes." president kennedy understood that the soviet union did not want war. two years later dr. strangelove par deed that era and it came eerily close to reality. consider the relationship of a president cooley trying to avoid a war, and the character was based on general curtis lemay as
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played by george c. scott. >> we are coming to a moment of truth both for ourselves as human beings and the lives of owe nation. now truth is not always a pleasant thing but it is necessary now to make a choice, to choose between two admittedly regrettable but nevertheless distinguishable post-war environments, one where you have 20 million people killed and the other where you have 150 million people killed. >> you're talking about mass murder, general, not war. >> mr. president, i am not saying that, but i do say no more than 10 to 20 million killed tops. >> i will not go down in history as the greatest mass murderer since adolf hitler. >> perhaps it might be better, mr. president, if you were more concerned with the american people than with your image in the history books. >> general, i've heard quite sufficient of you. thank you very much. chris: when we come back, they're trying hard to boost their spirits and the case of the obama re-election campaign.
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will it work?
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chris: welcome back. joe biden put some pep back in the party but it's really all about barack obama. clinton was the wing under the president's wings at the convention. since then clinton's been making the case that obama didn't make there. wow. >> here's old moderate mitt. where have you been, boy? i missed you all these last few years. that's a mere conservative myth. that's how he described himself for two whole years, until three or four days before the debate. they all got together and said, hey, men, this ship is sinking faster than the titanic. but peep are still frustrated
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about the economy. they want it fixed yesterday. so just show up with a sunny face and say i didn't say all that stuff i said the last two years. chris: in a long piece about the clinton-obama relationship in the new issue of "new york" magazine, john hileman writes about that particular clinton performance there -- "can obama find a way to dismember roam nea so artfully, joyfully and thoroughly?" upon that answer may hang the outcome of the election. if obama is defeated, it will be heaped largely and squarely on 44, that's obama, president 44, and the only thing that clinton enjoys more than being credited is blame lings." now, that writing is a piece of art by you, sir. does it not include some cynicism? >> look, president clinton gets a couple of big things out of this. president obama has moved toward president clinton's view of politics and economics, and what he's done, having run in 2008 as an antidote to clintonism, he's
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running as the inheritor of clintonism. he's extolled by the president on tiesing on the stump. he loves that. he also does not want to be blamed for a lot of things. he doesn't want to be in the position where if obama loses he can say if bill clinton had done more, he might have been able to win. he wants obama to win because he agrees with him. he doesn't want anybody to blame him. and he thinks obama winning gives his wife a better chance of winning. because the economy is going to get better. >> i think that's right. certainly clinton -- this is -- i mean he's the most popular politician in the country. i don't know if it's the courn accent that makes him so charming, but he is uniquely qualified to speak to all the groups that make up the obama coalition as well as the romney group, and the middle. so you can bet he'll be out there leaping in the air like that and prosecuting this case with a smile. >> and he is the most effective surrogate that obama has. chris: you're smiling.
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why are you smiling? because he's so good at it? >> he's fun to watch and he was fun to watch at the convention. much more fun than obama. but he is still a surrogate and there's only so much that the surrogates can do. the candidate himself still has to -- chris: i agree. >> let's just look at this miracle. chris, you've gone back in politics a long way. this was a bitter rivalry and they put it past them, all of them. they had the emotional maturity, this duo -- this trio, to decide country first. i have to say, i've been a longtime clinton skeptic and not particularly liker. i think the maturity of those three people the last four years has been remarkable. chris: the key is the solididity of the party. [ mitt romney ]is the solididity look at the evidence of the last four years.
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under the president's policies, middle income americans have been buried. they're just being crushed. middle-income americans have seen their income come down by $4,300. this is a tax in and of itself. i'll call it the economy tax. i'm not going to raise taxes on anyone.
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my plan is to bring down rates to get more people working. my priority is putting people back to work in america. i'm mitt romney and i approve this message.
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>> welcome back. john, tell me something i don't know. >> clinton is doing a lot of stuff for president obama, raising a lot of money. he's in a lot of the ads. look, you've still not done a joint campaign event so far. there's time reserved in the homestretch. you're going to see bill clinton and barack obama together a lot. chris: like the old motorcades with ike and dixon, the canons of new york. i love it. tell me something i don't know. >> early voting, as we all know, has been going on, and we're starting to get some indication of how it's going. over half a million votes have already been cast. both sides are spinning the numbers. so far it looks like republicans are doing better than they did in 2008 and the democrats are doing better also, solt margin is smaller than it was at some points in 2008. republicans do better with mail-in votes and democrats better with in person.
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>> they are doing tons of events across the country. given up two days a week to stump for this president. chris: mayor of san antonio. he was the star. >> touring historically by colleges and universities. >> there's one question that hasn't been asked that needs to be asked. which of george w. bush's policies do you disagree with? how will the administration be different than the last republican administration? chris: when we come back, can president obama put the questions about libya and president obama put the questions about libya and benghazi and that tragedy
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your mood improves. friends will want to know, "what's your secret? mine is cross training and running. you'll be happier and healthier the more you know. chris: welcome back, joe biden, the vice president, left some questions about the intelligence gathering regarding the libya attack and he left them unanswered, which brings us to this big question.
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where did the obama administration put the whole matter of libya to rest? >> they're going to try. joe biden pivoted out of that question because the facts are not good for them right now. he pivoted out. the third debate will be about foreign policy. romney is notching up his criticism and try to not let them get away from those facts. >> i think the drumbeat is going to continue. it was the worst moment of the debate for joe biden. >> in the last few weeks you've seen romney begin the week talking about foreign policy. he gave the big speech, he's given press conferences on this, and i think they very much sense an opening on this particular issue, because they can make the larger argument. >> the issue of intelligence or cover-up? >> i think the issue for them is leadership on the global stage. >> andrew? >> the key difference between these two candidates is that one is going to do all he can to avoid a new war in the middle east and the other one is going to hand over the use policy and launch a new global war. chris: thanks to the rounds
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table. john hileman, andrew sullivan, henderson henderson and liz liz.
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The Chris Matthews Show
NBC October 14, 2012 10:00am-10:30am EDT

News/Business. (2012) New. (HD) (CC) (Stereo)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Clinton 7, Biden 6, Joe Biden 5, John Hileman 3, Obama 3, New York 3, Libya 3, Us 3, Bill Clinton 3, America 3, Andrew Sullivan 2, Liz Liz 2, Benghazi 2, Mitt Romney 2, Henderson Henderson 2, George W. Bush 1, Dixon 1, Solt 1, Berlin 1, San Antonio 1
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